Mice and rats are both rodents that can infest your home. And it is not uncommon for them to do so either. While there are some very big similarities, there are also major differences between them. So in this article, we look at the differences between mice and rats and how you can get rid of either.
Appearance: Mice vs Rats Differences?
The appearance between mice and rats is often considered to be the same. However, there are slight differences that can help people to identify what they are seeing. For instance, the tails can be very different. Mice have long and thin tails which have hair all along them. In contrast, rats have thick tails that are hairless.
Another difference is that rats tend to be much larger than mice. The size difference can be seen not just in the body size, but also in the feet, rats have large feet. Mice will also have larger ears compared to a rat of the same size, though this is harder to tell unless you have the two next together.
Difference Between Rats and Mice Behaviours
There is a significant difference between the behaviours of Australian rats and mice. Both rats and mice are omnivorous, but while brown rats and house mice prefer cereals, black rats will prefer foods that have a higher moisture content.
Brown rats will cut grain when eating, and this gives the appearance that the rat has chopped the food. In contrast, a mouse will nibble at the grain, removing some of the outer husks to provide access to the softer insides.
Mice feeding behaviour is also different from rats. Rats will find a food source and will often take everything they need from that single food source. In contrast, a mouse will nibble at any food source, going to several different sources to find all the nutrients it needs in a night.
Most mice have specific locations that they will visit every single night. While rats will often not visit the same location two nights in a row.
The drinking behaviours are vastly different, however. Rats require a significant amount of water every day, about 60ml. In contrast, mice do not need access to fresh water every single day. But they will accept water if it is available. Still, a mouse only takes about 3 ml every day.
When moving around, both species tend to act the same. They will move along walls and keep to the shadows. This protects them from predators, by providing as small a profile as possible.
One difference in their movement is that rats tend to travel in small groups. They can move around in two or three individuals while searching for food. Though often you will only see one at a time. Mice tend to go around on their own and can be much harder to spot.
The Difference Between Mouse and Rats Droppings
The difference between mouse and rat droppings is subtle, but it is important to notice the difference so you know what you are trying to eradicate from a property. Mice, even though they are much smaller, actually do double the number of droppings that rats do, at about 80 a night.
And their looks can be very different. Mouse droppings have pointed ends. They are also about 1-2 mm long, which makes them very hard to see.
In contrast, the rat droppings are ten times the size, however, they tend to only have about 40 droppings a night. They also look like small bananas.
Another factor is the way that both rats and mice breed. Rats tend to have between five and ten litters per year. Each litter will have between three and six babies. The mothers will bring the rats up until they are ready to leave the nest. However, they tend not to move too far away. Rats can live in fairly large communities.
Mice can have between four and sixteen litters per year. Each litter can have between seven and eight babies. Mice babies tend to leave the nest to find their own nest spaces when they’ve grown up.
Therefore, mouse numbers can increase significantly more. However, they tend to find new homes, so an infestation can sometimes seem smaller. Rats tend to spend their life in a concentrated area. And this can cause problems because when rat numbers become too high, they tend to venture out more during the day. So if you see a rat during the day, you know that a rat infestation is a problem.
How to Get Rid of Mouse And Rats Infestation
While there are significant differences between mouse and rat infestations, there are some similar ways that you can reduce and remove these rodents from your home.
1. Remove the Shelter
There are going to be locations where rats and mice could be living. You need to remove these locations. Rats and mice, when in small numbers, tend to be very secretive. Therefore, if you remove their homes, they will have to move to find a new home.
2. Remove Food Sources
Mice and rats will set up homes near locations where they know that they can get access to food. If you don’t offer food for the rodents, then they won’t visit you. Now blocking access to food could be about blocking access points or getting rodent-proof bins.
If you know you’ve got rats, getting rid of water sources might also be something you would like to consider. Rats need water every single day, so removing potential water sources can help you get rid of rats.
3. Ultrasonic Devices
Ultrasonic devices are a good way to repel rodents. They have very sensitive hearing and will not like to be near devices that emit sounds they hate.
4. Call in Experts
Another option is to call in experts who can help you identify the locations where rats are accessing the property, and where they might be living and come up with plans to rid the property of the rodent infestation.
5. Natural Predators
You can also utilise natural predators on your property to deter rodents. While many people think cats are the best option, they tend not to be so effective. Traditionally, terriers were better, especially against rats which can be relatively large, especially in some areas.
Final Word: A Comprehensive Look at the Difference Between Mice and Rats
Above are some of the differences between mice and rats. But despite their differences, getting rid of mice and rats is relatively simple. You just need to remove anything that might attract rodents to your property.